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Comparing poverty variations: A robustness assessment of the MDGs’ achievements with respect to poverty alleviation

Has global poverty been halved between 1990 and 2015? In the present paper, we show how well-know stochastic dominance tools can be used to check the robustness of claims regarding monetary poverty variations and then, using data from PovcalNet, provide a new picture of achievements with respect to poverty alleviation during the Millennium Development Goals’ era. Using a sample of 90 developing countries, we notably observe that out of the 58 countries whose pace of poverty reduction was consistent with a 50% decrease of the headcount index over a 25-year period, 51 countries showed distribution changes that were in line with a more general conclusion that poverty would have been halved, whatever the poverty index we use, over the same period. Our results at the global level for the period 2002-2012 also show that the same conclusion robustly holds.

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